Sal Brinton: “We aren’t dead”

Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13
New Statesman carries an interview with Liberal Democrat President, Sal Brinton. It’s wide-ranging discussion, with Sal in upbeat mood:

The key message is, if I talk to a candidate or other senior people do, make sure that you pass the word on. It’s like handing a torch on to say, ‘actually we aren’t dead, there’s a lot happening, there’s a lot good that we’ve got to talk about in government, and yes there have been things that have been very difficult for us’. But if people only hear about the bad side, and the side that the other parties want you to hear about, we will be missing a real trick.

As well as our prospects for the general election, the interview covers women in the Liberal Democrats, the party’s reaction to the Rennard affair, disabled access to parliament, coalition versus marriage, tuition fees and the biggest political influence in Sal’s life.

You can read the article in full here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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17 Comments

  • Jenny Barnes 28th Jan '15 - 12:29pm

    He’s just resting. Beautiful bird, the Norwegian. Blue

  • Does a dead thing know it is dead ?

  • Phil Rimmer 28th Jan '15 - 1:45pm

    No Sal, not dead, just sleep walking back into oblivion because the people running our general election campaign appear to have forgotten both the philosophical foundations of this party and anything they ever knew about effective campaigning.

    Of course, Sal has to defend the indefensible right up to the polls closing. What shocks me is the majority of our MPs, who are set to lose their seats, who aren’t even stepping one inch out of line in their own constituencies. Are they all that stupid that they believe that they will get a Peerage out of Clegg?

  • Instead of a death, it might be more productive to see this as a rebirth. Things have clearly gone wrong, the party has lost its way and its ability to communicate with the general public. May is a chance to clear the tables and start again with a new leader and new approach.

    Of course, if these things don’t happen, death would be the better analogy.

  • Nick Collins 28th Jan '15 - 2:06pm

    Will you be issuing your canvassers and candidates with tee-shirts bearing the words “I’m not yet dead”? If you contact those nice people who produced “Spamalot”, I’m sure they’ll have a few left.

  • paul barker 28th Jan '15 - 5:32pm

    If you remember, Mrs Thatcher proclaimed the death of The Libdems in 1989, using the same old joke. A quarter of a Century on & we still arent dead.

  • David Evershed 28th Jan '15 - 5:40pm

    A recent YouGov survey shows that there is at least one policy issue that at least 50% of the electors believe they know about other parties. So Consercatives on the econom, Labour on the NHS, Greens on the environment and UKIP on Europe.

    But there is no issue on which more than 50% of the population think they know Lib Dem policy.

    This shows that people don’t know what the Lib Dems stand for.

    We need to relentlessly promote that Lib Dems are for liberal policies such as freedom of the individual and free markets. It might be easiest to advertise that Lib Dems are right wing on economics and left wing on welfare.

  • Tony Greaves 28th Jan '15 - 6:33pm

    We are not right wing on economics even though a small group of pushy people in the party would like us to be (and spend a lot of energy wasting the time of the rests of us).

    Anyway you cannot be right wing on economics an left wing on welfare. The two are closely linked.

    Tony

  • John Broggio 28th Jan '15 - 8:04pm

    Au contraire, Caractus.

    It is the espousal of right wing economics that vividly shows people the true colours of (too) many LD MPs. That is the reason, along with betraying students & the NHS along with demonising & impoverishing the already poor, why the LD vote is collapsing (as Tony Greaves rightly says, social policies are intrinsically linked to economic policies).

    It is, IMHO, a great shame for the many LD members and those MPs who stay loyal to their preamble that they will be tarred with the same brush in May. Those losing MPs cannot say they were not warned, for they were – even if they chose not to listen.

    (Now a reluctant Green.)

  • Stephen Donnelly 28th Jan '15 - 11:00pm

    Tony Greaves : “Anyway you cannot be right wing on economics an left wing on welfare. The two are closely linked.” What a gross simplification of the range of views on offer.

    One of our (liberal) strengths is that we do not represent a vested interest and can take a rational view.

    It is perfectly possible that someone could be concerned about public debt (it has to be paid off), and recognise that it is becoming almost impossible to maintain the present model of financing of public services, without subscribing to an agenda that supports a further concentration of wealth and power amongst a small elite.

    It is possible to recognise that public and private sectors both have their strengths and weaknesses.

    Would such a person be right or left wing? One of our weaknesses as a party is the ‘balloon game’ mind set of trying to throw overboard anyone who introduces new thinking.

    In this election we have nothing new to say. And that is killing us.

  • Does President Sal or anyone up there at the top listen ? when comments like this are made —

    Phil Rimmer 28th Jan ’15 – 1:45pm
    No Sal, not dead, just sleep walking back into oblivion
    because the people running our general election campaign appear to have forgotten both the philosophical foundations of this party and anything they ever knew about effective campaigning.

  • Well, I thought the coverage of Sal was interesting and welcome. She has tackled some of the really difficult issues as well as diplomatically being critical. Welcome too has been a lot of coverage of Shirley Williams arising partly from the film about her mother but which has ranged much more widely. Demonstrating two women with experience and intelligence may well appeal to a group of people not usually listening to the Party very much.
    I was pleased to see Tessa resign too from Government about something she believes in. I wish this were more common.
    In Government we have put forward the issues the Tories want to claim as their own. And we have made mistakes. But we have also displayed by discovering it just how untrustworthy the Tories are. Not that Labour is any better. We need to hear more from our women in the next 90odd days. We have some worth listening to.

  • Sadie Smith

    Good points, Sadie. Maybe we should recommend that the next PPB features only Liberal Democrat women.

    It would be a distinct improvement on the latest one.

  • Sadie Smith 29th Jan '15 - 4:29pm

    John,
    I would be very happy to see a women PPB. Though some might complain about the lack of men:(

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